Support for the live music industry ‘must continue’ ahead of planned reopening, sector spokespeople say.
After almost 12 months of shuttered clubs and music venues, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave hope to the sector in a press conference yesterday (22nd), announcing that nightclubs across the country could be reopened as soon as the 21st June.
In response to the possible reopening dates, which will only go ahead if the government's "four conditions" are met at each phase of lockdown easing, workers, organisations and spokespeople for the UK's live music and night time economy have urged the government to continue providing financial support to the sector.
Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust commented: “It is good to hear the government provide conditions under which initially socially distanced events, and then fuller capacity events, can take place. Based on this information, it is now possible to imagine how we revive live in grassroots music venues and develop that work into the full return of our domestic music scene”. The MVT have been a prominent voice during the sector lockdown, dubbing previous coronavirus regulations for grassroots venues "inconsistent and illogical".
Davyd also added that UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak's next Budget upated "must clearly lay out exactly how the government is going to provide that sector-specific support."
Elsewhere, UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, who participated in a recent hearing with the government's All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), also spoke about the importance of financial support: “The prospect of there being no legal impediments to live music events means issues like insurance are now even more pressing. They now present one of the final barriers to getting events going this summer."
In November last year, the Night Time Industries Assocation warned that, despite government funding throughout lockdown, the financial provisions made available for the night time economy were substantially less than the required operating costs. Following yesterday's announcement, Michael Kill, the CEO of the NTIA, said that 'evidence suggests that 85% of those who work in the night-time economy are considering leaving the sector. The sector urgently needs additional clarity on reopening and critical financial support from the Chancellor if we are to avoid economic and social damage that will last a generation.'
Just last week, MPs were warned that UK nightlife faces “extinction” without immediate government action, after a survey of over 20,000 night time economy businesses, workers and consumers were asked to share experiences and opinions on the huge problems currently faced by the sector amid the pandemic.
COVID-19 has rapidly impacted the music industry — leaving thousands out of work. The government dumbfounded many when it was suggested that those from an industry that contributed £5.2bn to the economy in 2018 retrain and find different jobs. In a recent feature for DJ Mag, Wil Crisp asked: is the government's response to the pandemic causing permanent damage to the music industry?